Heart of Glass - Blenko Glass
Blenko Glass is a West Virginia treasure that spans generations. Nothing symbolizes the state of West Virginia better or more beautifully than Blenko Glass. We will discuss current and former craftsmen and designers and how important it is that Blenko and West Virginia glass be appreciated and valued by the younger generation.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
My own mind is riddled with the information. Knowing how deep Mr. WH Blenko Jr. feels for Milton, the workers, and the factory, one of my prayers had always been that he would at age 80+ never see Blenko close.
The finances are shut down, and the picture is bleak, but until we hear the final words of closure Blenko - The Blenko Glass Company remains as the only American manufacturer of mouth-blown sheet glass. Are we ready to see another American manufacturer - a local WVa manufacturer close? I know nothing of government interventions etc. but . . . .there should be something someone can suggest.
Blenko Glass Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 67
Milton, WV 25541
January 30, 2009
For Immediate Release
Blenko Glass Company announced today that it is shutting down production and is discussing with its counsel whether it should consider filing for bankruptcy. The Blenko Visitor’s Center will continue to remain open. The Milton based manufacturer of hand made glass was sued by Big Two Mile, its former gas supplier, four years ago because of a disagreement about the payments due for gas used at the factory. A court found in favor of Big Two Mile and entered a judgment against Blenko for more than $500,000 in September of 2005. Several proposals for settlement of the case were made by Blenko; none of the proposals was accepted.
Over the past three years members of the Blenko Family were in contact with members of the Maier Family who are the owners of Big Two Mile. Blenko was led to understand that Big Two Mile would not take steps to shut down Blenko. Relying on those assurances Walter Blenko of Pittsburgh PA and Don Blenko of Wellesley MA invested more than 2 million dollars in Blenko in an effort to return the company to profitability. In recent months the company’s losses had been reduced and Blenko management was looking forward to seeing a positive cash flow in the company’s operations.
On January 15, 2009, Big Two Mile took steps to seize “all amounts, deposits, and moneys” in the Blenko Glass bank accounts including its payroll and withholding accounts. Blenko first learned of Big Two Mile’s action on January 23, when Blenko’s bank reported that the bank accounts had been emptied.
Blenko had issued a check on that day to pay for gas that it used in its glass making furnaces. When Blenko learned its funds had been seized it was able to recover the check which was already in the mail. Because of nonpayment Blenko’s gas supplier has refused to supply gas for the glass making process after January 31, 2009. Blenko has therefore shut down its furnaces and some of them will be destroyed due to the loss of heat.
Blenko employs approximately 50 employees. Walter Blenko, President of Blenko Glass, said “I want to thank and pay tribute to the many loyal employees of Blenko Glass who worked diligently and faithfully against bad economic conditions to keep the company operating and producing world renowned Blenko Glass up until the last day.”
For further information please contact: Walter Blenko, President, or Katie Trippe, Assistant Vice President, at (304) 743-9081.
Friday, January 30, 2009
The BLENKO PROJECT NEEDS YOUR HELP! We 're looking for retired Blenko Craftsmen. We want to add their photos, and their stories to our Blenkoproject - history of the craftsman. I know some of these gentlemen have passed on, but perhaps a family member will have photos, and be willing to share the story. We want to include as many workers as possible, I have a short list - I'm certain there are many others - please add any name you remember - even if you don't know the address. We'll keep searching! If your name is on this list, or you see your neighbors name, ask him to write or phone, perhaps he'll want to tell you about his time at Blenko Glass. We'd like to share photos of glass collections, old photos of glass once made and long forgotten. Factory photos. Whatever. Documenting the history of the Glass factory worker is the goal. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated by the readers of this blog, and perhaps by children doing research on West Virginia Glass years from now. If you don't have a computer I can provide you with a post office box address for mailing. Do you all have photos, postcards, snap shots, or any documentation or addresses phone numbers Etc forthe families of
Peral Lemly Bill Bailey Connie Blake John Worst Clayton Lunsford Raymond Lewis Clarel Chapman Jessie Carpenter Red Powers Jarfly Richmond
Also if you can add to this list of talentedretired workers I would greatly appreciate this.We want to give these gentlemen along with Mr Les . Womack ( I have his address) their own page on the www.blenkoproject.org IF we can get enough photos for them and their glass and their time at Blenko. If you are a family member, a friend or neighbor ask these gentlemen or their families to contact us. 304 437 4647 The Blenko Project - leave a message or better yet Email us. Thank youHillarytheblenkoproject@aol.comwww.blenkoproject.orghttp://media.herald-dispatch.com
The History of Wissmach Glass Company
A century ago, on October 13, 1904 the Ohio Valley Glass Company was founded by Paul Wissmach. The company originally manufactured raised glass letters, wire glass and tubing. But Mr. Wissmach had a dream to create beautiful colored rolled sheet glass to inspire stained glass work, today his dream has been built into the manufacturer of the largest variety of colored rolled sheet glass in the world.
The year 1910 marked an important date in the company's history as it changed its name to The Paul Wissmach Glass Company, Inc. Mr. Wissmach's dream had finally been realized.
Wissmach Glass has not been without its share of hardships. A fire in 1927 completely destroyed vital manufacturing and warehouse facilities. The fire turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise as the company quickly recovered with new and larger buildings.
The increased factory area led the company to expand its interest into the field of manufacturing raised white opal letters. The letters were widely used in electrical signs of which theater marquee sales made up the largest volume. The glass letter market eventually gave way to plastics. During the same period of the late 1920's and 1930's, Wissmach Glass continued to manufacture patterned wire glass and also introduced its line of Neo-Flash - the only rolled flashed glass in the country. Neo-Flash was designed and widely-used in the lighting field.
Both Neo-Flash and wire glass were dropped from the line in the early 1960's as company officials decided to concentrate on producing the finest colored rolled sheet glass. Today, over 13,000 square feet of glass is produced in Wissmach's manufacturing facility each day. On average, eight to ten different color runs of glass are made daily.
Throughout the years, Wissmach Glass has built an inventory that includes over 3,000 colors, tints and patterns. While preserving the many traditional colors and mixes of the past, Wissmach constantly introduces new colors and types of glass to meet the demands of the artists of today and the artists of tomorrow.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Weston is the location of the WV Museum of American Glass . The museum is one of my favorite day trips. However, children of all ages will enjoy
Appalachian Glass Products & Services which Specializing in mouth blown Friendship balls, Animals, fruits, Paper weights Christmas ornaments and many much more! Appalachian Glass Products & Services LLC. Produces a multitude of unique crystal creations in their studio nestled in the scenic hills of West Virginia. The studio is open free to the public. Appalachian Glass also maintains "Appalachian Glass and Gifts" which features an assortment of West Virginia products including: mouth-blown glass, stained glass, candles, pottery, quilts, paintings, woodcrafts, jellies, jams and WV books. Located off I-79, exit 99, 33W toward Weston, Big Red Building on Right Open: Mon. through Fri. 9:30 to 5:00 Sat. 10:00 to 4:00499 US Highway 33 EastWeston, WV 26452.Phone: (304) 269-1030Fax: 1 (304) 269-0180 Contact Person: Chip TurnerE-mail: email@example.comWeb Address: http://www.wvtourism.com/textlinktracker.aspx?URL=www.appglass.com
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Ohio State UniversityCollege of Dentistry Postle Hall305 West 12th AvenuePO Box 182357Columbus, OHIO. Note: Both WVU and OHIO STATE have female Deans. (only 11 of the 56 dental schools have or have had female deans).
Steve has worked without funds since the Foundation funding ended (2005). Steve doesn't collect Blenko or WV Glass. He is the father of 2 children, he is a musician, a small business owner, a computer guru, and well to find other factoids I suggest you use google there is a page or two devoted to Steve Rowe. Happy Birthday Steve. Oh! and when I have money, I'll take you for lunch on your next birthday and I'll offer you some money for the blenko project. This year...well my dear friend. . The Birthday Card is in the mail! I wish you the happiest of Birthdays and I know 2009 is going to be a great year for you and your darling daughters.
Everyone at Heart of Glass wishes you a Happy Birthday!
When folks ask us questions about collecting glass we offer only one piece of advice -- Collect the pieces that make you smile.
Attached is a picture of snowmen coming to grips with their fate.
For note: The 3 standing snowmen are Blenko from various years and the melting snowman is from Dave Osburn (my favorite).
Tim & Linda
Kissin Kate's Antiques LLC
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
If your name is on this list, or you see your neighbors name, ask him to write or phone, perhaps he'll want to tell you about his time at Blenko Glass. We'd like to share photos of glass collections, old photos of glass once made and long forgotten. Factory photos. Whatever.
Documenting the history of the Glass factory worker is the goal. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated by the readers of this blog, and perhaps by children doing research on West Virginia Glass years from now. If you don't have a computer I can provide you with a post office box address for mailing.
Do you all have photos, postcards, snap shots, or any documentation or addresses phone numbers Etc for
the families of
Also if you can add to this list of talented
retired workers I would greatly appreciate this.
We want to give these gentlemen along with Mr Les . Womack ( I have his address) their own page on the www.blenkoproject.org IF we can get enough photos for them and their glass and their time at Blenko. If you are a family member, a friend or neighbor ask these gentlemen or their families to contact us. 304 437 4647 The Blenko Project - leave a message or better yet Email us.
Description provided by seller follows:
Full Water Set (7 pieces) from the collectible line that Weishar Enterprises introduced in 1993. The collectible lines were made from the original moulds and only slightly altered to include the Weishar signature. The signature is that of the late Joseph J. Weishar (the creator of the moon and star glass you have come to love and collect over the years.
This set includes the pitcher and 6 water or tea glasses. It is in Mint condition. PERFECT! Pitcher is about 8 1/4" tall at highest point. The glasses stand about 5 1/2" tall.
I have spoke with a person from Weishar Enterprises this week and was told that this water set is called the Apple Green Opal Water Set ... Produced in 1996 ... There were only 53 total of these sets made. Very Very Limited Addition. He also let me know that they were selling for over $500.00 10 years ago. I was told that to get another or run across another one of these, chances would be 0 to none. I was very fortunate to find this at a local estate sale. It is absolutely Gorgeous and my camera could not catch all its beauty. The opalescence is just lovely.
FYI: The moon and star design (also known as "the palace" is a Victorian Pattern which was first introduced in the 1800's. The pattern was very popular, but due to the heaviness of the glass, transporting it by stagecoach was difficult and not practical. The pattern was produced only for a short time. It was actually President Abraham Lincoln's favorite piece and was collected by the late Kate Smith. In the 1960's approximate ten of the original pieces were reproduced by Joseph J. Weishar of Wheeling, West Virginia. The Moon & Star design was incorporated into thirty to forty new items which were sold nationwide for several years. In 1988, Weishar Enterprises introduced half-scale miniatures of both the Victorian and later contemporary pieces. 1993 the collectible line was introduced (made in full size). That is where this set comes from.....
ONLY 53 MADE..... IT IS A CHANCE TO HAVE ONE OF THE RAREST MOON AND STAR WATER SETS EVER MADE.
Being a student at West Virginia University means living in the Northern Panhandle and learning about our glass history, have you? If not may I invite you to our glass group or to the museum?
We have a very serious group of glass collector and we study weekly to learn and grow.
The glass made in Morgantown was excellent, I think you will find once you study this glass no other West Virginia Glass can compare. The quality was excellent. Fine tableware was made. It was used in the homes of presidents, senators, emperors world wide. As you young people say 'check us out' and then add us to your list of glass to write and brag about, we also photograph well.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Save an extra 10% on your glassware purchase. Enter the code "Winter09" during checkout to receive your discount. Discount will be taken on the glassware total. This is a great time to order gifts for family and friends. This offer is valid until February 28, 2009.
Webmaster Steve provided me with this over view of Capricorn. The birth sign for Tif and Em.
Neither have married younger or older men. Tif is married and Em is in a long term relationship both aver very motivated to succeed, both are gifted, strongly organized, both get on well with others, both are leaders, Both are successful in their chosen area of study and in life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADIES.
Saturn rules the practical sign of Capricorn and controls the month of January. You are strongly motivated to succeed and gain a position of power in your life. You are gifted with computers and you possess strong organizational principles. More than any other sign of the Zodiac you strive for respect and accomplishment in your career. Saturn is a karmic planet and rules your life, thus you must avoid nurturing depressing thoughts. The part of God in you is much stronger than the stars you inherited, and you do have power over the universal mind.You were born in the middle of the winter when nature was asleep. You must have realized early on, that nothing would come easily to you. Like the goat slowly but surely and against all odds (cold/wind/snow) you must climb towards the top of the mountain.The first part of your life has been a long and painful struggle but Saturn will reward you by giving you a long life and a well-deserved position. You will appreciate old age and solid financial security. You may also marry a much younger or older partner. The fluctuations of the Moon strongly affect your mood and career success. The wise Capricorn soul will use his fish tail accordingly and synchronize his life and business with the tides. Steadiness, organization, patience, and charm belong to you. You have a strong architectural or mathematical ability and your keen sense of observation will help you succeed in life.Karmic Saturn will exact payment for manipulating others for selfish ends and will throw the soul back to a painful start. You are attracted to power and successful people and you may marry into wealth. Emotional and sensitive, you are very responsible and protective of the family circle. However you must learn to openly communicate your deep feelings. Your real gifts are Astropsychology, electronics, and any career supported by Uncle Sam. Your natal Dragon can propel you to the highest position and supreme power. But your challenge is to open up to the intangible world of the spirit and its accompanying Universal rules. Your natural tendency to organize people and business at all times could hinder your sensitivity to others. Capricorns are good homemakers and adept with investments. As a rule you favor a successful business environment where you can apply your tremendous organizational gifts. A word of caution for Capricorn: Be aware of those wild acquaintances willing to help you to climb the ladder of success. Remember to respect the Universal Law (see Moon Power), as your awareness of Moon planning will become a major contribution for happiness and success. The location of your natal Dragon's Head or Tail will seriously alter the strength or weakness of Saturn in your chart. (See Nostradamus Dragon Forecast for more information). You can learn much more about yourself or anyone else by ordering my new book entitled "I Know All About You", "The Power Of The Dragon" or "And God Created The Stars".
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Capital City Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) invites all West Virginia families with children who do not have dental insurance to attend a free dental care event. Pre-screening will take place THIS SATURDAY,January 24, 2009 at The Bible Center Curch at South Ridge and free dental care will be provided February 27, 2009 at the Dental Division of CAMC.
4 1/2" Dave Fetty Blue Mosaic Egg
Using the same black glass and multi-colored frit as the Blue Mosaic Vase Dave has created a remarkable egg to match the Vase. This piece is embossed with Dave's personal stamp and is personally signed by Dave also.
12" Dave Fetty Blue Mosaic Vase
Using the same black glass and multi-colored frit as the vase and egg. Dave Fetty has created this hard to find Vase. It was found in a special room especially for dealers when Fenton announced they were closing. It was one of the last production items at that time. It is embossed with Dave's personal stamp and personally signed as well.
All 3 items are free of cracks or chips. You are getting a magnificent collection by one of Fenton's Amazing Artists.
A skilled glassworker, Dave Fetty retired in 1999 after more than 40 years in the glass industry. Dave came to Fenton in 1964 after learning the trade in Milton, WV, at the Blenko Glass Company, where he began as a carrying-in boy when he was 19. Dave's mentor at Blenko was glassworker "Shorty" Finley, who taught Dave many of the skills needed to make glass off-hand (without moulds). Even after his "official" retirement, Dave has continued to contribute to Fenton. Never at a loss for ideas, Dave handcrafts limited editions of off-hand pieces based on his mood and inspiration.
Friday, January 23, 2009
This is the #5929 - L giant decanter ( Tangerine). Husted 1959, design29. Huge extreme design decanter 38" high.
The #5929 is also featured in the 1959 BLENKO catalog in Jonquil.
Sometimes referred to as 5929; balustrade decanter or elaborate profile decanter ("profile decanter" for short) .
Photo and color and permission to post to blog submitted by
Tim and Peggy Floming of Cedar Rapids IA .
Hope everyone enjoys this. Another great piece, not in Texas.
Keep up the good work. I think you are great.
Larry from TX
Keep your favorite pen (or pencil) handy in this handblown holder. Certain to be a conversation piece, it can also double as a paperweight. From artisan Boyd Miller. Although available in several colors, this picture shows a milky blue and a rich purple. If you desire a particular color, please call 1-88 TAMARACK to check availability and place an order. Affordable Art ! http://www.tamarckwv.com/
Tamarack has examples of BLENKO, Osburn Glass, Fenton, and every small glass maker of note in West Virginia. All other arts and crafts are represented. IF you have only one day to visit West Virginia. GO TO TAMARACK! Then decide after viewing everything - what you what to come back to see!
Mission Statement: “The mission of the Tamarack Foundation is to advocate and expand artisan entrepreneurship in order to create a vibrant economy for West Virginia. We do this by developing and training artists and artisans providing them with business development skills, exploring new markets, communicating success stories and raising funds to promote these efforts. The Foundation celebrates West Virginia’s cultural heritage in the context of Tamarack’s brand of excellence.”
A Taste of West Virginia - Is an ongoing event at Tamarack - my own family drives down often on weekends for lunch. The foodcourt has unique regional dishes. Where else can one have food from the GREENBRIER at affordable prices?
A celebration of regional cuisine, A Taste of West Virginia food court, managed by The Greenbrier, features breakfast, grille and deli menu items to entice every appetite. Traditional menu items and unexpected pleasures make in-house dining and off-site catering, as well as meetings and themed functions, a memorable and delectable dining occasion.
Daily specials such as Tamarack’s Tuna Melt or Chicken Pot Pie, contrasted to complex plated dishes of West Virginia Rainbow Trout with Lemon Brown Butter and Braised Beef Sirloin with Sweet Onion Jus, showcase the talents of a well-trained culinary staff. West Virginia-made jams and jellies, salad dressings and mustards, and locally grown trout and catfish are incorporated into daily menus. You also won't want to miss Tamarack's Country Breakfast.
Behind the scenes, A Taste of West Virginia serves positive economic impact into Tamarack’s operational plate. A full-service conference center, catering off-site, and award winning participation in area events and competitions demonstrate the vitality of The Greenbrier’s partnership with Tamarack . www.tamarackwv.com
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
1 million people in an intimate event - OBAMA Inauguration!
Inauguration Day 2009 News and Events Coverage - news.aol.com
Inauguration Festivities in DC
The Obama Presidency
Spin, Rumors and Opinions
The Obama Watch
More Inauguration News
One of our most popular December post was a Christmas Tree from Chicago home of Tammy Kosla featuring as ornaments Political buttons for OBAMA and our own Joe Manchin.
TOMORROW GO TO BLENKO - BUY GLASS - Help the Local Economy!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I'm hoping we can get Mike involved in BLenko Collecting! He needs a more colorful activity than hunting Bambi's. Add Mike to your prayer list - if you keep such a thing, or just add your positive comments for Mike to read.
Yesterday Gov. Joe Manchin was sworn in for a 2nd term as Governor of West Virginia. It was a cold day, but the large crowd felt connected to one another and to the Governor and Mrs. Gayle Manchin.
Gov. Joe Manchin continues to be the #1 promoter of West Virginia. He wears his heart on his sleeve and we the people of WVa are his heart!
It was very nice to see Mrs (Senator Jay Rockefeller) in attendance and looking radiant and beautiful. The day was cold but bright with hope for the future.
The night was beautiful and again devoted totally to the beauty of our state. On the web you'll find galleries of photos.
My favorite site is: http://wowktv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=50283
Monday, January 19, 2009
The following was sent in by a long time friend, artist Glen Brogan.
"First I need to confess that I am a collector of many things, but glassware has yet to be something that adorns the shelves of my apartment. I’m writing this because it’s a story that means something to me and also happens to have a tie to Blenko Glass.
A year or two ago my friend Kyle’s grandmother passed away. Sometime afterwords Kyle moved into her house since it was left in his family's possession. I helped him get the house in order for his transition into living there, and as we were rearranging furniture I noticed and took interest in a smoky glass globe filled with matchbooks from different places around WV and beyond. As a graphic designer I have always liked the simple logos and illustrations printed on matchbooks, and I have even used them as imagery in my illustrations from time to time, but unfortunately they were never something I had thought to collect. Kyle’s grandmother, however, must have thought to take one from just about every place she visited because the globe was nearly filled to the top. As payment for helping him with the house, Kyle gave me the globe and matchbook collection.
My own grandmother passed away in October, and having now experienced for myself the difficult task of dividing up a passed loved one's possessions, I realize just how hard it is to let go of any relic from their life; not to mention one that must have taken years to assemble and tells a story of places visited and events witnessed. (There were numerous concert tickets in the globe as well.) It wasn’t until I brought the globe home that I noticed the small “Blenko Handcraft” sticker on the side. I never met Kyle’s grandmother, and I wonder what the matchbooks and glass piece meant to her. Maybe she would laugh that somebody would even want it, or maybe she would be puzzled that a person she never met now owns it. The glass looks old, though I guess it’s possible that she had acquired it recently to hold all the matchbooks, or dug it out of the garage.
I wonder the same thing about the items that I took from my own grandmother’s house after she was gone, and even about the things that she gave me while she was alive. I suppose my point in telling this story is that sometimes things you don't expect end up meaning something to you, and you'll never know what your own possessions will mean to the next person who owns them, even if they are just things like a dusty old glass bowl.
For my part I’ve been adding matchbooks to the collection.
Please continue to send in your Blenko photos and stories to share with Heart of Glass!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The last photo for tonight…Blenko in Los Angeles. Actually, my office is in Hollywood, but from my window, I can see the city skyline. It’s a great view at sunrise. Thought you might like to see both my “office glass” and my view.
Feel free to share with the bloggers,
Where does your Blenko live?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The #9011 swirl decanter (designed by Hank Adams) in plum and crystal is my latest local find. I had thought it was black until I got it home and checked the catalog. The dark plum was only made in 1990. Way cool. I’ve done VERY well in my local antique malls.
The attached are pieces I found in Palmdale – high desert California, 60 miles from downtown Los Angeles. 963 pitcher in charcoal, 5431 bowl in jonquil, 5611 pitcher in charcoal (it’s the tall one among the shorter 555 cocktail pitchers), a 6955 decanter in lemon, a 7327 milk can in olive, and shock of shocks, the 4-RE Regal pitcher (second shelf from the top on the left in the group picture).
Hope the bloggers enjoy the photos!